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J Theor Biol. 1985 Mar 7;113(1):29-62.

The distributions of cell size and generation time in a model of the cell cycle incorporating size control and random transitions.


A deterministic/probabilistic model of the cell division cycle is analysed mathematically and compared to experimental data and to other models of the cell cycle. The model posits a random-exiting phase of the cell cycle and a minimum-size requirement for entry into the random-exiting phase. By design, the model predicts exponential "beta-curves", which are characteristic of sister cell generation times. We show that the model predicts "alpha-curves" with exponential tails and hyperbolic-sine-like shoulders, and that these curves fit observed generation-time data excellently. We also calculate correlation coefficients for sister cells and for mother-daughter pairs. These correlation coefficients are more negative than is generally observed, which is characteristic of all size-control models and is generally attributed to some unknown positive correlation in growth rates of related cells. Next we compare theoretical size distributions with observed distributions, and we calculate the dependence of average cell mass on specific growth rate and show that this dependence agrees with a well-known relation in bacteria. In the discussion we argue that unequal division is probably not the source of stochastic fluctuations in deterministic size-control models, transition-probability models with no feedback from cell size cannot account for the rapidity with which the new, stable size distribution is established after perturbation, and Kubitschek's rate-normal model is not consistent with exponential beta-curves.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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